CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), one of six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the national Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

OSU's next accreditation visit is scheduled for April 27-29, 2011. The comprehensive accreditation visit requires that the OSU develop a university self-evaluation report and organize supporting data for an evaluation team. The spirit of accreditation is the principle of continuous assessment and improvement. Thus, this process is an opportunity for self-examination and self-evaluation, to showcase OSU's strengths, and to reflect on our challenges and how we address them in the future.

Previously, the comprehensive review to reaffirm accreditation of every institution was conducted every 10 years. OSU's last full-scale accreditation was conducted in 2001, with an interim evaluation visit in 2006.

The NWCCU adopted a new process in 2009 and the cycle time is now seven years. The organization also adopted a new set of five accreditation standards to provide a framework for continuous improvement for institutions to follow in preparation of their self study. The detailed standards are published at:

A major element of the new standards is for the institution to develop a set of "Core Themes, Objectives and Outcomes" relevant to OSU's mission. As a land grant institution, OSU is committed to teaching, research and outreach and engagement. The university's three core themes are:

Undergraduate Education. A fundamental pursuit of the university is to provide outstanding undergraduate academic programs that further strengthen performance and preeminence in the signature areas of distinction . To achieve this, the university strives to provide an excellent teaching and learning environment, and achieve student access, persistence and success through graduation and beyond.

Graduate Education and Research. Oregon State University is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research-Extensive University with Very High Research Activity. It is one of only two land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the United States. As such graduate education and research are essential components of Oregon State.

Outreach and Engagement is a process that involves discovery, validation and communication among learners. The focus of this theme is discovery and learning that involves those not residing on the main campus of Oregon State University.

Members of the public are invited to send comments regarding OSU's qualifications for accreditation to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, no later than March 27, 2011. Signed comments will be forwarded to OSU, and to the evaluation committee, by the Commission. Comments should be sent to the following address:

  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, 8060 165th Avenue, Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052-3981. Telephone: (425) 558 4224. Online:

A copy of the Commission's Policy A-5, Public Notification and Third Party Comments Regarding Full-Scale Evaluation, may be obtained from the Commission's website (via the Standards and Policies and then Operational Policies links), or by phone at: (425) 558 4224

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Chris Bell, 541-737-9361